Ethereum is a Single Computer

The right mental model for Ethereum is a single computer terminal with many users logged on and executing programs simultaneously. This is surprising, given the focus on decentralization in crypto. While the architecture is decentralized, the core (and beauty) of Ethereum is a single database and processor with a cycle time of approximately 15 seconds (the average block time).

This has strong implications for thinking about how to build applications for Ethereum: in particular, games. In the early 80’s, a wave of home gaming consoles swept across America, the most notable being the NES. The parallel here is between Ethereum and the various L1’s, with smart contracts now in place of cartridges.

Making games for Ethereum is not about making games that use Ethereum, but about games for Ethereum users. Users who already own the system, have credits in the system, and are familiar with its functionality and unique features: immutability, permanence, composability, and shared state.